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Event Detail (Archived)

Natural Products as Probes of the Pain Pathway: From Physiology to Atomic Structure

Event Details

Friday Lecture Series
David Julius, Ph.D., Morris Herzstein Chair in Molecular Biology and Medicine, professor and chair of physiology, University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Julius' lab is interested in determining the molecular basis of somatosensation with an emphasis on identifying molecules that detect noxious (pain-producing) stimuli and also in understanding how somatosensation is altered in response to tissue or nerve injury. Their approach has been to identify molecular targets for natural products that mimic the psychophysical effects of commonly encountered somatosensory stimuli, such as heat or cold, and to then ask how these molecules are activated or modulated by noxious stimuli or injury.

The lab has focused on three members of the TRP channel family (TRPV1, TRPM8, and TRPA1) that are expressed by subpopulations of primary afferent sensory neurons and which have been implicated in the detection of thermal stimuli and/or inflammatory agents. They have used a combination of molecular genetics, natural product biochemistry, and biophysics to address these issues and probe mechanisms of stimulus detection, channel activation, and coding logic of the somatosensory system.

Dr. Julius graduated from MIT, where he worked with Dr. Alexander Rich on the enzymology of tRNA aminoacylation. For graduate studies, he worked with Drs. Jeremy Thorner and Randy Schekman at UC Berkeley to elucidate mechanisms of peptide hormone processing and secretion in Saccharomyces yeast. For postdoctoral studies, David joined Dr. Richard Axel’s group at Columbia University, where his focus turned to neuropharmacology and receptor function. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Justin Sloboda
(212) 327-7785
Open to
Jeffrey Friedman
Refreshments, 3:15 p.m. - 3:45 p.m., Abby Lounge
Justin Sloboda
(212) 327-7785

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